GODSPEED! GAVIN TRIPPE (1940-2018)
Family announcement by Gavin Trippe, Jr.: “On behalf of the Trippe Family, I regret to inform you that my father Gavin Trippe, Sr. tragically passed away yesterday July 2nd, 2018. For all that knew him personally, words can not describe what this man has accomplished. We are shocked and feeling great pain so please respect our privacy at this time. We love you OG, thank you for all the good you did for this world. I hope you are enjoying a nice glass of wine with Mom.”
Gavin Trippe was one of the sports’ most famous race promoters in the 1970s and ’80s. He and Bruce Cox promoted the first Carlsbad USGP. He also promoted the first AMA National road race at Ontario Motor Speedway and was a prime mover in the formation of the AMA Superbike Championship. But, Trippe’s most lasting contribution was founding the “Superbikers” in conjunction with ABC Wide World of Sports.
Trippe was born in England in 1940. He was educated in an engineering program, where he became interested in motorcycling. He gradually moved into various forms of competition and became a national-caliber motocross racer in England. He also was part of a three-man team that won the British Army Trails Championship and the Walker Cup. He had a career as a journalist at England’s Motor Cycle News—where he met Bruce Cox. In 1968 Gavin and Bruce wanted to move to America and start the American equivalent to Motor Cycle News, which they started publishing in 1969 (Motor Cycle Weekly ceased publication in 1975).
Gavin Trippe was one of the first to bring professional marketing to motorcycle racing. He brought in major corporate sponsors, such as John Player cigarettes, Champion Spatk Plugs, Nissan and Hang Ten, to support his races, which bolstered the purses to the highest levels of their day. Trippe also dealt with the racers like the professional athletes they were, often hosting lavish parties for them on the night after an event.
Trippe talked an ABC Sports producer named Bob Iger into the idea of having motocrossers, road racers and dirt trackers race against each other on a custom-built track. Iger, who would later become the chairman of Disney and ABC, liked the idea of the Superbikers format. It became a ratings hit on TV. Gavin Trippe will always be remembered as one of the premier promoters in the history of American motorcycle racing and an innovator who helped create an entirely new genre in the sport.
To learn more about Gavin Trippe’s Carlsbad USGP history CLICK HERE